MORE ABOUT AD FRANK
Once Ad Frank read the words, he knew he had the basis for a song, if not an entire new album. "For whatever reason -- exhibitionism or whatever -- my ex-girlfriend gave me permission to read her diary," explains Ad. "As soon as I saw that she had written in there that I was the 'World's Best Ex-Boyfriend' the song pretty much took care of itself." But given Ad's penchant for over-thinking tangled romance, the story doesn't end there. "The bit about driving around and hearing a great song on the radio but losing the station's signal before the DJ has announced it parallels the relationship. Even if I'm never able to hear the song again, I'm still better for having heard it," says Ad, "My life was better for having known some people even if we can't be friends now." The track is pure, manic heartbreak and the perfect title for a new Ad Frank album.
Ad Frank is the World's Best Ex-Boyfriend, the follow-up to 2003's In Girl Trouble, finds Ad back with his band The Fast Easy Women for a tight trip through songs that evoke both asleep-at-the-bar loneliness and cutting wit. Featuring former and current members of Tracy Bonham, Francine, and Garvy J., the band's glam/new-wave/ cabaret epoxy expertly binds together all of Ad's varying loves and influences, resulting in a punchy, moving, and occasionally danceable album.
The six minute plus opus "The Five Days We Were Friends," starts off the album with a simple bass thump before building to a climax that has guitars careening and Ad reciting the mantra, "You're all the things you hope you are," as a chorus declares on Ad's behalf, "and I miss you, hon'." It's a classical, melancholy tale of a brief relationship that sets the stage for the following dozen wry, fragile takes on a life and loves that so far haven't gone as planned.
"If I Find Another One of Your Bobby Pins in My Bed, I'm Coming By to Shove Them Up Your Ass," which first appeared as a demo on last year's teaser EP, A Lotta Devotion, sounds like Queen fallen on hard times with its carefully woven electric guitar and strings. "Lucky," a recent live favorite and arguably Ad's finest ballad, is an epic declaration of hope and shame made more poignant by Ad's bruised, well-intentioned baritone. "Unspeakable" begins with the witty, "She took a personal ad. I guess anyone was better than me. I try not to take it so bad now that everyone can open and see who the son of a bitch is," before heading downhill from there to conclude with, "Sobbing - I've been weighed and found wanting. I couldn't speak. It was unspeakable." But the album isn't all so soul-bearing. The relatively light-hearted "Car Fascist" is a true story of a presumably well-intentioned friend who "pretty much insisted" on driving Ad home from a late-night party -- but not before making long-winded goodbyes and frivolous side-trips keeping Ad out far later than he intended to be. Ever the drama queen Ad whines, "I would have walked off several drinks but now instead it seems I'm having more of them. And I might not get home again. And that's a fine how do you do."
Mixed by Matthew Ellard (Tanya Donnelly, George Michael, Queen), The World's Best Ex-Boyfriend cuts just a bit closer to the quick than Ad's previous three solo albums. The resulting sound somehow evokes both the pop craftsmanship of early Ric Ocasek and the raw caricatures of recent Nick Cave while harkening back to Ad's 2001 eclectic solo release, Mr. Fancypants.
Since his days as a member of indie-pop favorites Miles Dethmuffen (and later, Permafrost), Ad's real-estate value has steadily risen in his hometown of Boston. His albums are now marked by near-excessive college radio play, and a string of kinetic, sold-out clubs. Ad will celebrate his new release with a series of shows throughout the U.S. in March and April of 2005, so that he may continue sending women running to the bathroom in tears.